Bikini Baristas File Suit Against City Of Everett

September 11, 2017


Editor’s Update Friday Sept 15th 4:55 PM: The City of Everett has decided not to enforce the rules regarding bikini barista business model. Spokesperson Meghan Pembroke issued the following statement by email a few minutes ago… The City has agreed to suspend enforcement of the new ordinances for several weeks, at which time the challenge will be decided on the merits without the unnecessary intermediary step of litigating a temporary restraining order. We are confident that the City will prevail and the ordinances will be upheld.

Editor’s Update 11:25 AM: We contacted the City of Everett and Meghan Pembroke, Public Information Officer for the city says they have no comment at this time.

Bikini drawing

Bikini baristas sue Everett over dress code.

Today several women who work as bikini baristas filed a lawsuit against the City of Everett claiming the city’s new ordinance requiring dress codes for quick service establishments is unconstitutional. Among the arguments are…

  • The uniforms worn by the Seattle Seahawk Cheerleaders would be illegal to wear in an Everett coffee stand
  • The law violates free speech
  • The law discriminates against women

Here is a press release sent out by the attorney representing the baristas…

Everett City Council members voted to enact two ordinances August 16th dictating a dress code banning bare midriffs, exposed shoulders, shorts or bikinis in quick serve restaurants. The Dress-Code Ordinance effectively abolishes all bikini-barista stands in Everett with the implementation of the dress code putting many women out of work, including the plaintiff’s Baristas.

A group of affected baristas filed a lawsuit against the City alleging that both recently passed ordinances are unconstitutional under the 1st and 14th amendments. In the complaint filed today in Federal Court Plaintiffs allege the City of Everett violated Equal protection, discriminated, is a violation of protected freedom of speech and did not provide due process.

The Ordinances, on their face violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution; are unconstitutionally vague, as applied and in violation of the due process guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment. The ordinances also deprive the Baristas of their Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights and discriminate against women.

Derek Newman, counsel for the affected baristas said, “The City knows only women work as bikini baristas, and intentionally targeted women through the Ordinances.”

Barista Natalie Bjerk says, “This is about Women’s rights, the city council should not tell me what I can and cannot wear when I go to work, it’s a violation of my first amendment rights.”

Plaintiff Liberty Ziska will testify that wearing a bikini while serving coffee communicates. “I choose my own clothing at work, and for me, the message I send is freedom…Millions of women fought for our rights and right to vote, and it’s my right to wear what I want. It’s my right as a person.” There is nothing unhealthy, obscene, or contrary to the public good in the barista’s garments.

Plaintiff Leah Humphrey was quoted “These ordinances set back women’s rights by fifty years.”

The City claims that the Ordinances are designed to ward off crime, prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and the corruption of minors, and to minimize the adverse impacts upon aesthetics and property values of surrounding neighborhoods and businesses. The City’s legislative record does not support that these conditions exist as a result of the stands much less that a dress code Ordinance will meet these goals.

Everett has failed to satisfy a public records request seeking evidence relating to data showing bikini barista stands engendering a criminal atmosphere. The City of Everett cannot furnish any evidence linking bikini barista businesses and secondary criminal acts such as illicit drug use, or that they endanger public health and lower property values. The City is seeking to blame an innocent enterprise for municipality’s rampant drug problem.

Just like Starbucks with green aprons, UPS with brown trucks and shorts, Hooter’s with minimal orange, athletic shorts, the Baristas’ attire is a brand at work. They simply wear a bikini while serving coffee. The SeaGals attire consists of very short shorts, pushup bras, and bare midriffs that would be illegal under the ordinances yet they perform in front of 60,000 plus people every game day and at numerous charity events. Our Baristas deserve the same rights.

Here is the lawsuit filed in Federal Court this morning.

Dress Code Lawsuit against COE

We’ve asked the City of Everett for comment and will pass that along when it arrives.

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My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring news and events in Everett, Washington. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett.

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